Beautifully appointed and prohibitively expensive when new, the “Daytona”, as it ultimately became known—(though not specifically named by Ferrari), in honor of the famed 1-2-3 1967 24 Hours of Daytona Ferrari finish—would become an iconic fixture of Hollywood movies and TV shows. Outfitted with the 4.4-liter Colombo, quad-cam V-12, and breathing through six dual-throat Weber carburetors, the Daytona delivered a whopping 352 hp in stock trim with a top speed just over 170 mph.
V12 motoring had never before been so advanced and exciting. With a mere 1,400 produced until 1973, the Daytona has become a stunning visual capture of the changing times for Ferrari and the rapidly advancing world of automotive design at the dawn of the 1970s.
Among the many signature features of the Daytona, the most captivating is the dramatically sloped front fender line as it drops toward the front of the car, concealing the headlights, and placing the grille underneath the bumper line. The low hood and disappearing headlights are such a departure from the former, rounded sports car lines of past Ferraris that it places the Daytona in an almost different class of car from the Miura.
The smooth body side with a distinctive concave, mid-line crease and delicate wheel arches achieves a tuxedo effect while concealing the monster V12 engine. The beautifully swept roof line draws back into expansive rear glass and side quarter windows offering something difficult to achieve in a mid-engine road car; great rearward visibility. The Kamm-tailed rear end is executed with a forward leaning thrust preventing the car from appearing too truncated or cut off at the rear, like many other Kamm tail designs.
It also allows something very practical the Miura lacked entirely – a usable trunk and interior space to stow items behind the seats. All these years later, when looking at other cars from the early 1970s the Daytona ranks very highly among cars that have aged well. Not only has the styling remained relevant today, the basic proportions, lines, and general character have found their way into many other cars, highly influential in the design of the Datsun 240Z, Opel GT, Volkswagen SP2, and Mazda Rx-7, each of which crib different design elements from the Daytona while building their own character as unique cars.
Ultimately the timeless beauty of the Ferrari Daytona combined with brute force acceleration, yet exhibiting refined GT manners, would become the hallmark for future front-engine V12 Ferraris into the new century. It’s no coincidence that the Daytona wound up being the last of the more traditionally built Ferraris prior to the Fiat takeover and eventually the departure of Enzo Ferrari. The Daytona put the perfect finishing touch on a remarkable era of sports car manufacturing, continuing to inspire enthusiasts and collectors today with a classic and lasting design, perfectly packaged in a wonderfully conceived GT road car.